Steve was my youth director in the 1970s. (Am I that old? Sigh.) Anyway, he was the kind of youth director always on the verge of getting in trouble with the church administration. Translation: best youth director ever!

Over the years, he was on staff at some of the biggest churches in the United States. One of his ventures was to sponsor a “Dance Your Shoes Off” event. Think 2000 people on a football field, dancing a tightly choreographed song, and at the end walking off the field, leaving behind thousands of pairs of new shoes for their low-income neighbors in need of shoes. To use a 70s term, that’s just downright cool.

Steve taught us that Christianity isn’t a list of don’ts, it’s a list of dos. He taught us to follow Jesus and have fun. For the past five years he’s suffered from brain cancer, in constant excruciating pain, but somehow kept his laughter and powerful influence going. An attitude to emulate, for sure.

This past Sunday night, Steve died.

His funeral is today.

And since I can’t make it to Houston for the service, I’m reprising this entry about him from my book. In fact, Steve and his wife Bonita are the reason I published the book! They took home a manuscript, read it, and called me the next day, encouraging me to go for it.

Steve LOVED hymns. On my website, I’ve put together a topical devotional made of music, including some hymns, called A Pocketful of Songs. The song I’ve chosen for my tribute to Steve is called “Be Still My Soul,” and is sung by another wonderful and influential friend from the 70s (double sigh), Russ Taff. (Thank you, Russ and the Imperials, for one of my favorite songs ever.) Take a listen. I think you’ll be blessed.

This one’s for you, Steve.

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